REVISITING recent correspondence concerning national anthems sung with much gusto ahead of sporting occasions such as the Rugby World Cup, I feel bound to agree with the received wisdom that Flower of Scotland is a depressing dirge, founded upon perceived persecution, victimhood and ultimate retribution.

As a prelude to any high-profile sporting event, or even an occasional medal ceremony success, whist the upbeat Welsh and Irish anthems inspire and stir the Celtic blood, Flower of Scotland, especially – but not exclusively – when accompanied by bagpipes, sucks the oxygen out of the atmosphere, rendering our national teams a couple of goals or several points down even before the first whistle sounds.

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Meanwhile, thank the Lord, Scotland long-since abandoned any affiliation with God Save the Queen, which surely reflects a Great Britain of a bygone era, which, worryingly, continues to depict an increasingly English narrative of nationalism and misplaced global superiority. But it is to the unofficial English paean, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot that I draw immediate and urgent attention.

With its origins rooted deep in the slave trade, Swing Low found itself adopted amongst English, rugby club culture of the 1970s and 80s, complete with decidedly misogynistic sexual actions, before being unofficially and ironically adopted by frustrated Twickenham supporters in 1988.

Mass chanting of any anthem, at best, alluding to, and at worst celebrating the shameful and systemic trade of native black Africans to enrich white British merchants and American cotton moguls must surely, even considering the English hubris of a rugby XV – perhaps even deservedly – on the cusp of being crowned world champions, be open to serious scrutiny in 21st century Britain.

The current context of continuing contemporary slave trade as evidenced by the recent Essex human trafficking tragedy confirms that little appears to have changed over the past 100 years and more.

Together with a burgeoning Brexit-driven superior sense of English nationalism, surely, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is as inappropriate now as it ever was and should be immediately disowned by the RFU authorities.

Modern slavery is to be found, both in plain sight and, as recent events have confirmed, not-so-well-hidden in the shadows and any refrain either celebrating or insinuating the trade in human flesh is not only unbefitting but also tasteless and, arguably, offensive.

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Looking forward, and given Scotland’s diverse wealth of musical flair, creativity and cultural diversity, in an exercise of national renewal, reinvigoration and resuscitation, conceivably, some of the many talents at the nation’s disposal could be garnered in a "Scotland’s Got Talent" contest to create a nationally-accepted, modern, optimistic and outward-looking harmony the country could confidently congregate around.

Whilst that would be highly-unlikely to bring about any greater degree of sporting success, it would surely make us Scots feel somewhat better about ourselves, a contemporary song to be proud of and put a spring in the step of an admittedly fragile national psyche, leaving those south of Hadrian’s Wall to wallow in perceived past glories and who, shamefully, continue to "celebrate" repugnant human rights abuses still happening under their very noses.

Michael Wilson, Longniddry.